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Inspiration Kitchens

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An epitome of hope.

In support of its primary social focus of providing fresh, healthy food in an urban food desert and job training to individuals, Inspiration Kitchens aims for integration within the existing neighborhood by reusing an existing building and emphasizing renewal.

The project involves the renovation and adaptive reuse of a 1906 single-story building and the improvement of three (3) vacant lots in the City’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. The 7,300 sq. ft. facility has an 80-seat restaurant that serves subsidized meals to qualifying families as well as market rate meals to all other visitors; a combination service, catering and training kitchen from which a 13-week food service training program is conducted, a meeting room/classroom and administrative/social service offices which support Inspiration Corporation’s community outreach programs and provides individualized case management services to past and current students. Additionally, a new sustainable garden supplies fresh herbs and vegetables for the restaurant and serves as an educational resource for students, local school children and the community.

In a neighborhood that formerly had no sit-down restaurants, highly crafted dining room furniture, made from reclaimed wood, sets the tone for this ambitious project. Boarded-up elements of the original building, built in the same year as the nearby Garfield Park Conservatory, are uncovered to reconnect the interior with the neighborhood. Saw-toothed skylights, which formerly illuminated a factory floor replete with milling machines, are outfitted with new insulated roof windows that now illuminate the dining room, kitchen, and administrative spaces. Street windows, long ago bricked-in, obscured, and clad with burglar bars, are reinstated and acoustically fortified to allow views to the park while avoiding disturbing noise from the adjacent elevated train line. Interior materials, particularly those in the public dining area, are retained and exposed, endorsing the values of reuse and renewal.

“Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park is an epitome of hope. It is an outstanding example of a place that brings people together–around good food, job training, and a well-designed space.” – 2013 Selection Committee, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

To learn more about Inspiration Kitchens visit their website here.

General Contractor: Heartland Construction
Owner’s Representative: IFF
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP Engineer: dbHMS
Civil Engineer: Terra Engineering
Acoustical Consultant: Threshold Acoustics
Landscape Architect: Wolff Landscape Architecture
Photography: Steve Hall / Hedrich Blessing